I’m dating myself with this quote from that master philosopher, Yoda. This goes back to the first Star Wars movie in 1977 (Of course, I was in kindergarden at the time 😉
I’m stunned by the number of sales people that don’t understand the principle. Everyday, I encounter sales people who are very busy. They are working very hard to get what they get. The problem is, what they are getting is far short of their target and goals.
I ask them, “What are you doing to close the gap to your goal?” The response, usually, “I’m doing everything I can, I’m trying as hard as I can, I’m working my ass off….”
There are some, those that have no ownership of their numbers, often they respond, “It’s not my fault, I’m not getting enough leads, it’s a marketing problem, the lead gen people aren’t doing their job.”
Whatever the statement, read excuse, too many sales people fail to recognize, their job is to achieve their goals. Too few people are driven to achieve their goals, rather doing the best they can do.
Let me be clear, our job is to make our numbers. By accepting a pay check, by accepting our quota assignment, our job is to do everything we can to make our numbers–even though we may disagree with the number.
As we look at allocating our time, we must look at, “are we doing the things we need to be doing to make our goals?” If we aren’t, we need to adjust what we are doing. As we look at our pipelines, we must challenge ourselves, “are we pursuing enough opportunities to make our numbers?”
We don’t do this alone. We leverage our managers to help us think about how we achieve our goals. We get help where we can, leveraging resources within our companiess, our partners, and with our customers.
But we have to focus on our jobs. Our job is to make our numbers. Our job is to figure out what we do to do this. And when things don’t go as expected, our job is to figure out how to pivot, so we can achieve the goals we agreed to achieve.
Anything less is unacceptable.
“Do or don’t do. There is no try.”
Afterword: Managers, don’t wash your hands of your responsibilities in helping your people make the numbers. Your job is to do everything possible to maximize their ability to perform. This includes coaching, training, putting the right tools, systems, and processes in place. This means you are obligated to remove the barriers to their performance and get them all the help and support they need to do their jobs. This means working with them to help them succeed. Anything less and you aren’t doing your jobs.